I Love this book. As a big fan of cyberpunk, this book is such a fun read with really likable characters. I mean, even though Hiro is a 1337 /-/4X0r (if you can read that, god you are nerdy! And I shouldn’t' laugh, because I'm the one that wrote it… -.-;…. ) type guy, there are moments where he is just dense or not all there. Or Y.T.'s double life as a punk ass teen queen and a role of a "good daughter," Each character has a personality and is just fun. But when they say "hacker" I keep thinking they mean "programmer" or "developer" because it sounds so over used or misused. I don't know.
Bob R. Rife's empire of media (and now church) reminds me a lot of Aol/Time Warner cable and how they own everything! I remember back in my old mass communication classes, discussing things about corporate conglomerations. When a company owns most facets of a particular service or product (monopoly), it drowns out competition and competitive, fair, prices. Also the quality of that product or service can go down, because there is nothing else and so consumers end up with it (I'm looking at YOU shitty Windows, oh yes I am). But more importantly related with this book, is the control of information. In a monopoly in the media, Information is controlled. The story is not always all there, especially if it is from the company or its affiliates making that news, or has an interest whether monetary or otherwise. People will get what is given to them and have few alternatives. Now with the internet that isn't so true, yet if Google can filter shit out for communist China, who is to say that AOL isn't doing the same. That's why I could totally see these conglomerate figure heads make their own news as to make more profit from the industry that they practically own most of, much like ol' Bob Rife.
Also, organized society in the burbclaves of their own nation-state franchises that connect like minded or similar people into a community that self governs. They share many things in common from culture, to interests, to status, etc. This is so similar to current trend on the internet, like Myspace, Livejournal, forums, and web rings. Essentially these things do the same function as these gated communities of burbclaves. Networking and residing on the internet as these people do in the real life (and sometimes the metaverse, as they are freer to be who they wish they were).
Some other similarities I found were the tower of Babel and the CIC library of congress thing, where knowledge, language, and culture tidbits are all protected by the god/librarian hackers. And the whole concept of neural hacking, and the god counter virus, as our brains function and are wired similar to computers, and the closer and more frequent we interact with computers, the more our minds are like them; there fore, the more susceptible to this virus and counter virus we become.
I also love Juanitia's take on faith. Just had to say. ^_^